Update: All images are taken from the execellent center city connector presentation put together by SDOT. We encourage you to read through the full presentation to best understand the project.

center-city-connector

Connection_OptionsOn Tuesday, the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee considered legislation about the preferred local alternative for the Center City Connector, a project to connect the two existing streetcar alignments (South Lake Union Streetcar and First Hill Streetcar) into a single integrated streetcar line. Previous iterations of this study narrowed the focus to a streetcar on 1st Avenue Downtown. The final release of this study, which selects a preferred alternative produced the following findings:

  1. Exclusive LanesExclusive lanes on 1st Avenue are the preferred alternative. This is due both to a positive cost/benefit analysis and strong public support.
  2. SLU Connection Options. The report recommended both the Stewart/Olive couplet and the Pike/4th-Pine/5th couplet connections to the South Lake Union line for study in the environmental review. Strong public support saved the Pike/Pine couplet from the chopping block, even though it may prove complicated to implement given the need to protect the waterproofing for the downtown transit tunnel which it crosses.
  3. exclusive_lanes_exampleHub-to-hub operations. Rather than running all cars from end-to-end, the study recommends running streetcars from the SLU line as far as the 5th and Jackson stop (near King Street Station) and running the First Hill Streetcar as far as Westlake Station. The objective here is to obtain up to 5-minute frequencies in the corridor between Westlake Station and the King Street Station. All other segments would run at up to 10-minute frequencies.
Overall the study produced unsurprising results, though the inclusion of two connection options for the SLU Streetcar was a little unexpected. The full City Council will vote on whether or not to move this project forward on Monday, and if it passes it will proceed onto environmental review and 30% design. If all proceeds as planned, the line may be operational as soon as 2018. Be sure to let the council know that you support the support the project.
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Charles is an avid cyclist that uses his bike as his primary mode of transportation. He grew up in the Puget Sound, but is currently overseas living in Japan. He covers a range of topics like cycling, transit, and land use. His time in Tokyo really opened his eyes to what urbanism offers people and has a strong desire to see growth happen in Seattle.